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Digital Tools Are Set To Enhance How Our Project Teams Create And Curate The Best Places

Autonomous Buildings
  • by
  • Lendlease Podium
“The focus of great city planning has moved well beyond functionality. Yet creating great projects is complex, with so many interfaces, even getting the basics right can absorb most of the project team’s time. Our industry will need to increasingly adopt digital tools which are capable of improving time efficiency and enabling project teams to focus less on basic processes and more on customers and end-user experience”

The property industry is largely a series of “one-off” projects where each building is defined by its own unique design and location. It's a world of prototypes. That’s often why designing and delivering a building can be a very long and expensive process. Good design involves complex problem solving around many variables. It requires the right inputs from many stakeholders: designers, suppliers, builders, investors, operators, occupiers, government, and community. The complexity can be huge, often with teams working together for the first time. Inevitably as more stakeholders are understood, the opportunity to improve the quality of outcome increases, however the time to input, assess options and communicate is a major barrier to realising the potential

Increasingly digital tools will make assessment, problem-solving and communication far more efficient. Digital can help large project teams collaborate and bring better data to the team much earlier in the process. It makes building design, delivery, and operating processes more effective. This leads to improved functionality and importantly enables more time and investment to be focussed on sustainability, amenity, connectivity, public realm, and great user experiences.

Responding to the increasing needs of our communities and determined to leave a positive legacy for future generations, Lendlease is now developing digital technology to support stakeholder engagement and complex project decision making. In 2019 Lendlease launched Podium, the first digital platform for the property value-chain.

MIND: Milan Innovation District. Lendlease is utilising Podium to assist in collaborating with the planning authorities, community, supply chain and business to create a new centre of innovation for Europe.

Podium’s portfolio of technologies includes capability to generate building design options digitally to optimise a given set of requirements. Digital processes are faster enabling more options and variables to be assessed simultaneously. In Milan, the Lendlease team are using Podium to collaborate with the project consultants to reduce design durations and accelerate technical solutions by computer generating timber building and roof structures.


“The increased use of technology will reduce repetitive manual effort enabling project teams to look beyond just the functionality or construction of buildings and focus more on creating positive outcomes for customers, people and places - which is the exciting part of what we do.” Technology can help us further understand our end-users and improve collaboration with our consultants and supply chains. It provides our teams with advanced tools and more informed choices. Better information and more efficient processes will enable end-user experiences to be more personalised. We've seen tech do this successfully in other industries, and now we’re seeing it start to benefit ours.

Video of Podium people movement simulation

In this video, data captured by Lendlease Podium is being harnessed to simulate the flow of people to assess the quality of user experience, particularly at peak entry and exit traffic times.

Making people’s experience the centrepiece of design is critical and technology will provide more tools to support project teams achieve this outcome. “Through data and insights, we can enhance environmental, social, and economic outcomes and attract a new generation of talent into our industry, motivated to create great places."

Digital will also help deliver on the aspirations of capital and occupiers. Government, corporate clients, and investors are increasingly focused on the legacy of the buildings they own and occupy. Buildings represent the values of those who create and inhabit them. Investors and occupiers are seeking buildings aligned with the greater good of society.


Like many of our customers, Lendlease has set itself ambitious sustainability targets. We are a 1.5 degree aligned company with clear targets to be net zero carbon by 2025 and absolute zero carbon by 2040. To achieve these outcomes, we need to assess materials and supply chains more holistically. This requires sophisticated tools and quality data analysis through all stages of design, construction, and operation. This is where digital can thrive.

Lendlease is utilising Podium as part of its sustainability strategy. For example, we recently created a digital twin (a digital version of a proposed physical building) to determine the viability of a high-rise sustainable timber apartment building in Melbourne Australia. While timber has been used previously in apartment construction, it is rare to build a 29-storey timber tower. Podium enabled innovation in materials and sustainable design to be modelled, validated, and optimised safely in digital format, also reducing the quantum of timber required.

“We know that property has lagged when it comes to technology and is one of the least digitised industries globally. We frequently struggle with increasing cost, delays, poor coordination and too many defects. As property professionals we need to adopt digital tools. It’s key to productivity, safety, quality, sustainability and to meet the future requirements of government, communities, capital and occupiers.”

Digital will never eliminate the need for human creativity nor mean we all need to become technology experts. It isn’t human input versus technology, but rather people utilising smarter tools to collaborate more efficiently and make improved decisions. Implementing a digital approach will assist our teams create better places for communities to thrive

We saw the transformation in infrastructure and construction productivity through industrial advancement in the 20th century. Today’s convergence of technology and property presents an even more exciting future for those seeking to lead the industry. It’s now our time to embrace the power of digital to improve how we work, enhance project outcomes, and underpin the future liveability of our cities.

Technology Innovation Autonomous Buildings